Shared by Lynn O’Donnell, Brian’s cousin
Brian Cleveland suffered from Leukemia and needed platelets on a regular basis. His cousin Lynn, an outreach coordinator with Mercy Flight WNY, contacted Unyts to host a blood drive at Crittenden where Lynn was an EMS Captain at the time. When Brian’s wife, Katie was told about the drive she immediately said no to it and Lynn was going to cancel it, but something made her continue forward with the drive.
“After the drive, I got a phone call from Brian crying, saying to thank all my fire fighters and friends who donated. We had collected 13 pints and he needed 10 of them for blood transfusion. Since we had them banked in his honor due to complications from his Leukemia treatments.”
Brian had been in remission and was able to shake hands with many of the firefighters, including the chief, and many of Lynn’s friends who had donated.
Unfortunately, Brian has since passed away from Leukemia, but everything his son Colton plays at Lynn’s fire hall on Christmas Eve, his mom Katie, thanks Lynn and all the heroes who donated during that drive for helping Brian have a little more time with Colton.
Lynn, Katie and their families continue to understand the importance of regular blood donations and encourage everyone to get out there to donate as often as they can.
Lynn with Brian's son, Colton
Headquartered in downtown Buffalo and established in 1981.
Unyts is among the leading procurement organizations in the United States, and is one of the only eight centers nationwide to house organ, tissue and eye procurement in one location. With the addition of Community Blood Service, Unyts has become the first organization of its kind nationwide. Unyts operates as a non-profit serving the eight counties of Western New York and works to assist donor families, coordinate the donation process and increase knowledge and awareness within the community regarding transplantation.
Unyts routinely has helped to secure higher rates of donation in Western New York than the national average. When approached following the death of a loved-one for organ donation, Western New York families are very generous. In 2014 the Unyts conversion rate was 81.5%– the national average was 63.2%. Due to these numbers, Unyts is ranked as one of the top procurement organizations nationwide. As recently as 1997, Unyts had just 200 donors; in 2014 the organization surpassed 1,200.
The organization’s network and success have gone hand-in-hand, and as a result, Unyts has been able to spread the message that transplantation is vital – and transplantation saves lives. Unyts is currently headed by President & CEO Mark Simon, and Chair of the Board of Directors David Carlson.
*As of January 1, 2012, Unyts operates under, d/b/a Unyts, WNY’s only Organ, Eye, Tissue and Community Blood Center. We are no longer Upstate NY Transplant Services.
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